Settlement Looks Good For Huber
Huber Engineered Woods LLC (HEW) reports it has “achieved” a negotiated settlement with Georgia-Pacific Wood Products LLC in the patent infringement lawsuit filed by HEW in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.
The lawsuit, filed in June 2016 by the Charlotte, NC-headquartered manufacturer of OSB, alleged that GP’s ForceField products infringed HEW’s patents for its ZIP System sheathing and tape products. The settlement includes a license under HEW’s patents granted to GP to cover sales of GP’s ForceField products, as well as a payment by GP to Huber of an undisclosed upfront amount and ongoing royalties paid to Huber.
“For more than two decades, Huber Engineered Woods has provided innovative, premium products to our customers,” says HEW President Brian Carlson. “Investing in the continued development and protection of our intellectual property portfolio is central to our company’s strategy and success. We are pleased to resolve this issue with GP and will continue to be vigilant in the defense and protection of our brands and intellectual property.”
Introduced in 2006, ZIP System sheathing and tape is an innovative exterior wall and roof system consisting of a high-performance engineered wood panel with a built-in, water-resistive barrier that eliminates the need for housewrap or felt, Huber states. Completed with taped panel seams using advanced, acrylic-based ZIP System tape, the system helps achieve quick rough dry-in, while providing a continuous air barrier to protect against unwanted air leakage.
Huber Engineered Woods has manufacturing operations in Maine, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee and Oklahoma, as well as research and development facilities in Georgia.
Specifically, Huber alleged that the ForceField products marketed by Georgia-Pacific infringed two patents when used to sheath the walls of homes during construction; that the use of multiple ForceField panels to sheath the wall of a home, when sealed together with water-resistant tape such as GP’s ForceField Seam Tape, created a panel system that infringed the two Huber patents.
At the time of the lawsuit, Georgia-Pacific stated: “Georgia-Pacific remains confident that ForceField does not violate the intellectual property rights of others, including those of Huber. ”
The Huber lawsuit stated that Huber’s inventions were the result of years of research and development, culminating with initial sales of Huber ZIP System sheathing in 2007. “The inventions represent a leap forward in roof and/or wall structural sheathing system technology, solving several problems exhibited by other sheathing systems that rely upon house wrap or felt paper that is used with structural wood panels as part of the weatherization of buildings,” Huber had stated.
The lawsuit stated that GP introduced its ForceField System in January 2016 as a competitor to Huber, and that “rather than put in the time and resources necessary to independently develop a sheathing product like HEW did, GP instead chose to take advantage of the innovative development work done by HEW.”
According to the lawsuit, GP hired a former Huber employee to help GP develop its product—the same person who is a named inventor of the Huber patents, and that this person was subsequently a named inventor on GP’s patent application for similar technology.
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